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HHP: Tracking the Fifth Starter Competition


Frobby

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Thought it might be nice to have a game log for the four main candidates. I will try to keep this up to date. Road games are marked with an asterisk since the lineups are usually tougher (because the regulars don't travel as much).

Brian Matusz

2/25: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K's

3/02: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K*

3/08: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K's*

3/13: 4.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K's*

3/19: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K's*

Jake Arrieta

2/23: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K's

2/27: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K's*

3/06: 3.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K's (Team Spain exhibition)

3/11: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K's*

3/16: 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K's*

3/21: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 Bb, 9 K's

Zach Britton

2/23: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K's

2/27: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K's

3/06: 2.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K (Team Spain exhibition)

3/11: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K's*

3/15: 3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

3/20: 1.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 1 K

Steve Johnson

2/23: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K's

2/27: 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K's*

3/05: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K's*

3/12: [intrasquad game, results not reported]

3/17: 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K's

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Great job, it's nice to see it laid out like that.

That being said, Arrieta's walks really stick out. It is tough not being able to see the games and just trust the numbers, but it is still concerning.

Matusz appears to be the clear cut leader.

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Great job, it's nice to see it laid out like that.

That being said, Arrieta's walks really stick out. It is tough not being able to see the games and just trust the numbers, but it is still concerning.

Matusz appears to be the clear cut leader.

I don't think there is a clear cut leader. All four have done pretty well.

Coming up: Britton tomorrow, Arrieta Thursday, Johnson Friday.

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This is a crazy competition. I almost think Steve Johnson should be in the lead right now - based on what he's doing, and how he pitched last season. I think he's for real. I actually think most of these guys will see starts for the Birds this year, though.

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This is a crazy competition. I almost think Steve Johnson should be in the lead right now - based on what he's doing, and how he pitched last season. I think he's for real. I actually think most of these guys will see starts for the Birds this year, though.

If you look up the boxscores of the games he has pitched in you may change your mind. He is facing AAA talent at best.

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If you look up the boxscores of the games he has pitched in you may change your mind. He is facing AAA talent at best.

I probably should be tracking which starts are at home (therefore mostly against scrubs) and which are on the road. However, the regulars will start getting more playing time now, even in road games.

Edit: Road games are now marked with an asterisk in the OP. Interesting to note that Matusz's last four starts have all been in road games, whereas Britton has only pitched once on the road, and that was in relief.

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According to BBREF

OppQual (#5 Rotation Candidates)

Matusz 9.3

Jurrjens 9.2

Arrieta 9.1

Britton 8.5

Johnson 8.5

Oh, and McFarland was listed with the LH relievers. That's why I didn't see his name.

McFarland 7.7 (by far the lowest level of competition)

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I don't think there is a clear cut leader. All four have done pretty well.

Coming up: Britton tomorrow, Arrieta Thursday, Johnson Friday.

I was saying more so in reference to the stats. He has the most K's, and is tied for the least walks with a 13:3 ratio in 15 innings. Those 15 are the most, and he has a whip of 1.00.

Alas, it's Spring Training, and there is still plenty of time to dazzle or fade. But I'm enjoying the mere ability to speculate based on actual contest rather than conjecture.

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By the way, I didn't include Jurjjens on my list, because I can't tell if he's really under consideration. I'd say if he doesn't start this weekend, he's clearly not being considered. If he does start this weekend (Saturday would be the likely day, with Matusz going on Sunday), then I'll amend the OP to include him.

By the way, there are only 11 days left in spring training, meaning that Arrieta, Johnson and Matusz are going to get at most two more starts. Theoretically, Britton could get three, including his start tomorrow. But my guess is we might see the O's start working Hammel/Chen/Gonzalez/Tillman into some of these games, especially the four games vs. non-AL East opponents. I wouldn't be surprised to see Buck tip his hand after Friday's game, by which time he'll have had one more look at Britton, Arrieta and Johnson.

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I think Matusz is going to win the fifth starter competition and get one last chance as a starter. It makes sense because if they put him in a relief role immediately and he is great there again, he likely stays in the bullpen. I think the organization wants to see what they have in Matusz as a starter. It will help his trade value if we decide to move him and make it easier to deal from our surplus of starting pitchers in the future.

I think Steve Johnson will get the seventh bullpen spot as the long man/swing starter. That leaves Arietta, Britton, and Jurjens getting regular starts in AAA. The best of the bunch gets the first call up. I'm sure everyone will get a shot at some point, but this is how I see it playing out to start the season.

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By the way, I didn't include Jurjjens on my list, because I can't tell if he's really under consideration. I'd say if he doesn't start this weekend, he's clearly not being considered. If he does start this weekend (Saturday would be the likely day, with Matusz going on Sunday), then I'll amend the OP to include him.

By the way, there are only 11 days left in spring training, meaning that Arrieta, Johnson and Matusz are going to get at most two more starts. Theoretically, Britton could get three, including his start tomorrow. But my guess is we might see the O's start working Hammel/Chen/Gonzalez/Tillman into some of these games, especially the four games vs. non-AL East opponents. I wouldn't be surprised to see Buck tip his hand after Friday's game, by which time he'll have had one more look at Britton, Arrieta and Johnson.

I'm not sure if he is either. I only included him with the others in my post because he was listed there and I thought it was interesting that he had faced a decent quality of opponent.

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